Power couple revealed as the new Monarchs of the Glen


Hannah Heerema, whose family are royalty in the Scottish music world, and her husband Eric, an investment tycoon turned winemaker, have snapped up the £5.25m home.

They plan to restore what is known as the “jewel in the crown” of Scottish sporting estates and turn it into their family home.

Hannah, 28, is the daughter of singer Fiona Kennedy and granddaughter of the Scottish music legend Calum Kennedy, nicknamed the ‘King of the Highlands’.


The 7,000-acre Balavil Estate includes the mansion known to millions as Kilwillie


She is married to 54-year-old Eric Heerema, a Dutchman who made his fortune in investments.

The couple, who are expecting their second child, already own a 36-acre estate in West Sussex complete with medieval manor house and lake.

That is their base for their hugely successful wine business, renowned for producing some of the most prestigious sparkling in the world.

They now plan on splitting their time between the two.


Hannah and Eric Heerema plan to renovate the mansion


“The Caledonian Sleeper goes directly from London to Kingussie,” Hannah said. “It will be an adventure for the little ones.”

She explained: “Having a home in Scotland, for me, is really important.

“It’s part of my past – and my future – and very much the fabric of my life. Our family home is in Blairs, I went to Gordonstoun and I have many happy memories in the Cairngorms.

“Balavil is in the heart of Scotland and very much in the centre of my family’s upbringing.

“It will be lovely to spend more time in Scotland and be able to share where I was raised with my own children.”


Balavil “jewel in the crown” of Scottish sporting estates


Speaking about their plans for the mansion house, loved by millions after its starring role in The Monarch of the Glen, she said: “It’s a beautiful house already and we want to preserve its legacy.

“What we’re hoping to do is conserve it and do some restoration work to the best that we can.

“It doesn’t need completely restored, but it does need some investment and attention from people who will care for it.

“The family who have lived here have done a great job, and we’re looking forward to becoming neighbours.


The dining room in the estate house


“It’s a responsibility, and a responsibility which we will take seriously being the custodian of Balavil for future generations, but it’s important we do this.”

She added: “My husband and I are both fans of the architect who designed the house, Robert Adam. His design leaves it open to interpretation.

“We will do everything in a sympathetic way.

“The main focus for us is to restore and conserve it and make it an incredible family home.”


It is one of the best known sporting estates in Scotland


Asked if they plan to continue letting the estate out to shooting parties she said: “Who knows what will happen in the future, but for now, that’s not our intention.

“It is an entertainment house and it deserves to be used. You can tell there’s been a lot of fun had in it.”

Balavil was owned by the Allan and Marjorie Macpherson-Fletcher and had been in the family since 1790.

The couple inherited it from an aunt 40 years ago and have planning permission to build a new home within the estate.


From left to right Francis Clark (jnr), Hannah Heerema, Sophie Kennedy Clark (an actress), Fiona Kennedy (Scottish singer and presenter), Francis Clark (businessman).


Speaking about letting go of his family home Mr Macpherson-Fletcher said: “We’re delighted that it’s going to be in good hands and will get the degree of restoration that neighbouring estate have had in recent times.

“It’s been a long time in coming. We’re happy with the new owner. I think he’s going to do a good job here and restore it to its former glory.”

She added: “Eric and I are so happy that Balavil will be our home in Scotland. It’s a wonderful place for all the family to spend time and very special for our children.”